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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Details don’t add up in Svay Rieng ‘suicide’

Details don’t add up in Svay Rieng ‘suicide’

Near the river where the drowned body of a Prey Veng provincial police officer was discovered on Tuesday, investigators found a half-empty bottle of wine, some cigarettes and a suicide note written in Vietnamese.

But according to family members, Lieutenant Colonel Ker Bunthouen, who lived in Svay Rieng province, rarely drank, did not smoke and couldn’t speak Vietnamese.

“These suspicious details have led our team to think this may have been a murder,” said San Chanthoeurn, a police officer in Svay Rieng’s Romeas Hek district. “We decided to investigate this case further.”

Fishermen found Bunthouen’s body in a river in Kampong Trach commune, a fishing community in Svay Rieng’s Romeas Hek district, Chanthoeurn said. He was chained to a motorbike.

Cheay Savath, Bunthouen’s wife, had not seen her husband since he moved out of their home to his sister’s house following an argument at the end of September, she told the Post yesterday.

While unsure of his activities during his time away, evidence found at the scene does not add up, Savath said.

“My husband was illiterate in Vietnamese,” Savath said. “He had very little alcohol, and I never saw him smoke.”

Bunthouen committing suicide seems too far-fetched, said Ker Sophanna, his 18-year-old son, who is calling for the police to investigate the case as a murder.

In addition to information from Bunthouen’s family, police found in his pocket the keys to the motorbike that weighed him down, suggesting to them that the bike was not running when it submerged under water, Chanthoeurn said.

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